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How can I use VMware Workstation to copy only changes to a VM to another physical machine, rather than recopying the entire VM every time? Can I just copy the snapshot files, if the second physical machine starts from a pristine copy of the VM? Would it be best to create a linked clone against the original VM, and then copy the linked clone directory each time? Does that even work? (I'm assuming I'll have to change the path in the VM's metadata file, since the paths will be different. I'm assuming I can't clone a linked clone w/o cloning the base.)

Background: I and another developer with VMware Workstation are using VM's for systems development. I have to work from a home desktop. Transporting a multi-gigabyte VM either direction takes several hours at best. Downloading it is easiest, but that takes an hour to get it on a DMZ machine for download and then many hours to actually download.

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Snapshotting helps you copy .vmdk files; otherwise, you will get "device busy" problems. I would do this.

  1. Snapshot the disk that got your changes.
  2. Copy that disk over to the target, and replace the existing vmdk on the target with this copied one.
  3. Boot the VM on the target.
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